SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY

1939 ~ 1941

1939 - March. Hitler's forces entered the Czech capital, Prague.

27th April - Military Training Act - Men of 20 and 21 were required to undertake six months of military training.

1st August. London Gazette.
Whitehall, The King has been graciously pleased to give and grant unto Christopher Hildyard Ringrose, of Skelton Castle, Skelton-in-Cleveland, in the County of York, Esquire, Captain -(retired) in the Royal Navy} and Margaret Winsome, his wife, daughter and heir of William Henry. Anthony Wharton, late of Skelton Castle aforesaid, Esquire, Qfficer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, deceased, His Royal Licence and Authority that they may take; and use the surname of Wharton in addition to and after that of Ringrose, that he the said Christopher Hildyard Ringrose may bear the Arms of Wharton only and that-such surname .and Arms may in like manner be taken, borne and used by the issue of their marriage, the said Arms being first duly exemplified according to the Laws of Arms and recorded in the College of Arms, otherwise the said Royal Licence and Permission to be void and of none effect. And to command that the said Royal Concession and Declaration, be recorded in the said College of Arms.

23rd August - German - Russian non-agression pact was signed.

September - Government passed the National Registration Act whereby every citizen had to have an Identity Card.

1st September - Germany invaded Poland.

3rd September - Britain and France declared war on Germany.

27th September - Warsaw was overrun by Germany.

13th December - Battle of the River Plate - German pocket battleship "Graf Spee" was scuttled.

The IRA began a bombing campaign on the British mainland.


Photo of a class at Skelton Infants school at this time.
Names, reading left to right are - Back Row. Olive Pigg, Audrey Ward, Dorothy Drury, Barbara Peacock, Lena Winter, Betty Brown, Gordon Hessay.
Middle Row. Graham Matheson, Tony Watts, Alan Ward, Keith Walker, John Harding, Billy Dale, Roy Young, James Corner.
Front Row. Norman Judson, Norman Robinson and Eric Garret [Famous Opera Star, see emails page 6.].
[Photograph kindly contributed by Alan Ward, third from left, middle row.]

1940 - 8th January - Just four months after the war started food rationing came into force and a black market started.
Restrictions were made on the following items and each person was allowed per week - 4 ounces of butter/lard, 12 ounces of sugar, 4 ounces of bacon/ham, 2 eggs.

11th March - Meat rationing started.

9th April - Germans invaded Denmark and Norway.

10th May - German Army invaded France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland.
Winston Churchill formed an all-party, war coalition Government

14th May - The Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden made a radio appeal for men to become Local Defence Volunteers.
These volunteers should be aged between 40 and 60 and be able to fire a gun.
By the end of June one and a half million men had been enlisted.
At first they wore only an armband for recognition and only a few could be issued with old War One, Lee Enfield rifles.

Identity Cards and Food Ration Books for All.
Clothing Rationed.
They were not usually the old men of "Dads Army" and in this area many were young men who worked in the vital occupations of ironstone miner and steelworker.

"I went down to Middlesbrough twice during the War to enlist in the Army," says one, who was 18 at the time,
"but they sent me back home and told me my job down the pit was just as important."

After Dunkirk, thousands of these Home Guards were readied along the coasts for an expected invasion.

15th May - Holland capitulated.

28th May - Belgium capitulated.

May. - The evacuation of Dunkirk.


Sgt William Calvert Danby. Killed in action. Age 37.

The following six Skelton men of the Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) were killed covering the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force from Belgium and during the evacuation of Dunkirk:-

4386274 L/Cpl Sydney Colin Brown, 4th Battalion.
Age: 31. Date of Death: between 29/05/1940 and 02/06/1940.
Son of James and Carrie Brown; husband of Nancy Brown, of Skelton, Saltburn, Yorkshire.
Memorial Reference Column 49, Dunkirk Memorial.
Click to see his memorial.

53786 Serjeant William Calvert Danby, 5th Battalion.
Age: 37. Date of Death: 31/05/1940.
Husband of Ethel Danby of Skelton in Cleveland, N Yorkshire.
Memorial Sp.Mem. FF. 5. Adinkerke Military Cemetery. Click to see his memorial.

4386349 Serjeant Percy Rayner, 4th Bn.
Age: 29. Date of Death: 31st May 1940.
Son of Robert and Phoebe E. Rayner.
Memorial: New Skelton Cemetery. Click to see his memorial.

4386726 WO II [Company Serjeant Major] Robert Shaw, 4th Battalion.
Age: 28. Date of Death: between 14/05/1940 and 17/06/1940.

Pte Harold Smith. Killed in action. Age 18.

Son of Walter and Elizabeth Shaw; husband of Ethel Shaw, of Skelton, Yorkshire.
Grave Plot 2. Row A. Grave 11. Athies Communal Cemetery Extension. Click to see his memorial.

4390693 Pte Harold Smith, 4th Battalion.
Age only 18. Missing in action between 23/05/1940 and 24/09/1940.
Son of John and Dora Smith of East Parade, Skelton.
/Memorial Reference: Memorial: Plot 2. Row B. Grave 7, Athies Communal Cemetery Extension. Click to see his memorial.

4387164 Pte John William Walker, 4th Battalion.
Age: 26. Date of Death: 23/05/1940.
Son of Edward Thomas Walker and Florence Walker; husband of Mona Walker, of Skelton Green, Yorkshire.
Memorial Column 50, Dunkirk Memorial. Click to see his memorial.

Many returned wounded. Alan Ward remembers Arthur Sleeman and Bill Abrams of Robinson St, Skelton.
Arthur appeared to recover, but Bill was an invalid for life.

Battle of Britain.

10th June - Norway capitulated. Italy declared war on Britain and France.

14th June - Germans took control of Paris.

22nd June - France capitulated.

10th July - The Battle of Britain began.

13th Aug - Luftwaffe began raids on British airfields and aircraft factories.

25th Aug - Royal Air Force mounted reprisal raid against Berlin.

27th August - The following Skelton man was killed in N Africa :-
1871533 Cpl William Flower, 42 Field Coy, Royal Engineers.
Age: 27.

Son of William Edward and Margaret Elizabeth Flower, of High Green, Skelton, Yorkshire.
Grave: XXX. J. 25, El Alamein War Cemetery. Click to see his memorial.

7th Sept - Italian Army attacked Egypt.

10th November - Royal Air Force raid crippled the Italian fleet at Taranto.


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